39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did, 40 but now you are trying to kill me… 41 [So] you are indeed doing what your father does …. 42 If God were your Father, you would love me … 44 [but] you are from your father the devil, and 44 you choose to do [this] father’s desires. – John 8:39-44
There’s a famous passage in Romans 8:31 that says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?’!
Some people try to stand against Jesus and his ways in this world – which is what was happening in today’s passage from John 8. But as a famous VeggieTales’ song from my kid’s generation sang, “ God is Bigger than the Boogie Man.”
I know in this passage that Jesus wasn’t afraid of the devil! Why? Because God is BIGGER. “ He is Greater,” as MercyMe joyfully sings.1 John 4:4, “Little children, you are from God … for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
So, if Jesus wasn’t afraid of the devil, what was he? I think he was sad! Very, very sad. People had been deceived, and because of that, they were looking to do him harm. To use an image in John 10, instead of following the Good Shepherd, they had been tricked into following a thief. As Jesus said, “ 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 10 [But] the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Those are the extremes! An abundant life through Jesus or stealing, killing, and destroying through that devilish thief. In our verse, they weren’t children of God or Abraham, because they were seeking to kill Jesus. And I don’t think that Jesus was afraid, I think that Jesus was very, very sad.
I wish sometimes that our world was that black or white. I wish that was there was clear good vs. evil, light vs. darkness, abundance vs. destruction. It would make it easy to know where to stand and what to do. Instead our world today is seductive. Most people have been lied to. They buy into little things that cause them to have a
You probably have some of those things from time to time. Don’t worry! You’re not a child of the thief. You’ve just been lied to. That’s why the Apostle Paul warns all Christians to put on the full armor of God! He knows it can be tough to sort between truth and lies and subtle compromises, so in Ephesians 6 he says …
- 14 Stand therefore,
- and fasten the belt of truth around your waist,
- and put on the breastplate of righteousness.
- 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
- 16 With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
- 17 Take up the helmet of salvation,
- and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
- 18 And pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication.
Jesus wants you to have a more and more abundant life. There’s nothing – including boogiemen – to be helplessly afraid of, because “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” And if you feel like you compromised here and there, simply say, “Oops. Sorry God.” And then stand back up and starting focusing on the armor of faith, scripture, truth, right living, prayer, the power of witnessing, and a greater focus on heaven rather than earth.
And if you’re looking for what you can do while we’re all a little shut-in, try that witnessing peace. As a family, pray for those who don’t know the peace of God and are perhaps a little worried. Start calling a few people each day to encourage them. Shine as lights of hope in the midst of a crisis. Put on Gospel Shoes, and help an elderly neighbor. Make a home altar, and use this season to draw closer and closer to God … and to one another in deep ways!
This isn’t a time to be overcome by fear … because Christ has overcome sin, Satan, and even death. But also know that I understand – and God immeasurably understands – that times of change and uncertainty do bring anxiety. That’s normal – and not a measure of faith or lack thereof. Turn off the news – except one quick check a day – and call someone (like me) to talk you through it instead.
God loves you and so do I.
In Christ’s Love,
a guy who’s listening to
“ He is Greater,” again!